Amelia’s Magazine | Welsh artist of the Year, Philippa Lawrence

Free Range has been showcasing the very latest in design, pilule dosage photography, art and interiors for the last 8 weeks, giving fresh student talent a platform to strut their stuff. Sadly, however, all good things must come to an end and so, with a heavy heart, we went along for our last opportunity to get inspired (and tipsy off free wine!)

It was a bit of a free for all in Free Range’s final week. Whereas all the past weeks had been categorized by artistic discipline, this week saw a melting pot of illustration, art, graphics, photography, textiles… you name it, it was there. This was great as the last Free Range fix of the year, but not so easy to sum up in one neat and tidy blog entry.

Our first stop was the Bournemouth Arts Institute BA hons Photography exhibition (it’s catchy title of ‘Chirp’ perhaps drawing us in). Here we wondered at Nathaniel Gaskell‘s silver gelatin prints. The silently scientific black and white images of strangely crusted spheres had us begging the question; ‘Is it a tiny microbe viewed through a microscope? Or a huge planet viewed through a telescope?’ Either way (or neither way) this enigmatic series really captured our imagination.


Our imagination was also highjacked by Chloe Greenhalgh‘s ‘Hotch Potch’ horse collages (what can I say? I’m a sucker for collage!) and Nicola McBride‘s Royle-Family-reminiscent ‘Transfixed’ series (presented on flickering televisions around the room).



On to the next room of delights, then, which was a showcase of the furniture and the product design courses of Nottingham Trent University. Lots of problem solving designs were on display, which I found to be an admirable oasis of sanity in the sea of unpractical arty loveliness. Product design may never be quite as ‘sexy’ as fine art but, in the long run, it’s the creative discipline that will be shaping our future lives more than any other. And with Paul Williams‘ ‘Dunken – The Biscuit Saviour’ invention, it seems we have a bright future ahead of us!


Then it was time for us to dunk ourselves back into the sea of pure aesthetics. University of Plymouth was just the thing to quench our desire, showcasing the work of it’s BA Hons Design: Illustration students in ‘Plymsoul’. Sara Wilkins‘ french fancies and Pepto Bismol pants proved pleasing…


As did Stephen Daoud‘s ‘Discontended Bear’ series. With an intense shading technique, reminiscent of Tom Gauld, Daoud brought to life a melancholy fairytale of a bear searching for something more in his life.


We also had fun with a magnifying glass and Tom Joyce‘s Where’s Wally type ‘Hide n Seek’ images. ‘Could we find six knights in each picture?’ we were challenged…alas within his finely penned visions of a Victorian steam punk era and a futuristic space port, there just wasn’t time to find all the knights, as more art was beckoning…


Staffordshire University’s BA Hons Fine Art show ‘Vivify’ was last on our tour under the roof of the Truman Brewery. Here, Joseph Booker‘s illustrations made us smile (if in a slightly puzzled, disturbed way). Overheard conversation fragments had been spun out into short stories that we could read, each accompanied with a bizarre scrawled snapshot.


Rebecca Edmonds
strange landscape paintings also caught my eye. From afar this series looked like delicate watercolour landscapes, but looking more closely it became evident that Edmonds’ brush had been no where near a traditional paint palette. Painting her hometown of South Wales meant that salt, coal and other debris were more fitting materials.


Time to brave it outside the Truman Brewery and head over to Dray Walk. Bring on the printed textiles!

We’re all really excited here at Amelia’s because Issue 9 featured artist Philippa Lawrence has won the title of ‘Welsh artist of the year’. Lawrence’s bound bonsai beat a hefty 500 entries to snap up the accolade, buy although we’re really not surprised. As you’ll see in issue 9, visit this site Lawrence’s stunning art series (entitled ‘Bound’) involved travelling through Wales, finding a dead tree in every county and binding each one in coloured cotton. Her pure and simple works unite art and nature is a curious way.


So it seems that the RCA printmaking graduate has moved onto smaller things, well..smaller trees, at least. When asked why Lawrence had chosen the bonsai as her new focus she commented that ‘the wrapped bonsai is more poetic because it’s a form which has already been constrained.’ Though the scale is smaller, the work is just as beautiful – something which did not escape the judges’ eye! All of us at Amelia’s would like to say ‘Well done Philippa!’ and advice everyone to keep an eye out for this talented artist in the future.


Categories ,Art Philippa Lawrence Wales RCA Bonsai Printmaking Tree

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